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It’s Hard To Believe This Gorgeous 9-Minute Robot Animation Is a Student Thesis

There’s just something about a sad-looking robot that melts viewers’ hearts. Perhaps it’s because robots are classically incapable of experiencing emotion, so for them to feel sadness validates the power of sadness. In a stunning new animated video, though, the story is too mesmerizing to focus on how sad the lead robot looks at times.

“Wire Cutters” is a student film that’s almost too impressive to believe it’s a student film. Created by Jack Anderson, as his undergraduate thesis at Dodge College, it’s already taken home awards from a number of student film festivals and international film festivals—and rightly so.

Let’s just get the Wall-E comparison out of the way. “Wire Cutters” begins with two robots accidentally meeting on a phantom planet. However, once we establish this bit of similarity, the comparison does not continue. Anderson’s creation has a look, feel, and vibe all its own, even if it can’t help recall memories of Wall-E, by virtue of him being the world’s previous favorite sad robot.

In the video, our forlorn, parking meter-faced protagonist encounters another robot while mining for precious metals. They do not exactly become friends. To discuss any further would dilute the impact of the story.

“The concept for the film started with a question: ‘What would happen when two creates of logic have to start making more and more human decisions?’” Anderson says in a statement online.

Beyond the matter of how this situation plays out, the film is a wonder to behold, the product of literally thousands of hours of toil. According to the creator, it took roughly 30 minutes a frame on average, or a month for every minute of the nearly 9-minute film. All that labor-intensive, almost you might say mechanical effort paid off, though, in a robot story with an undeniable pulse.

Watch the video below: